"Thanks to conservative managers and years of record profits, Japanese public companies are sitting on cash reserves of more than ¥60 trillion, estimates Nikkei, a financial-news company."
States the article in the Economist "The Japanese are coming (again)" here. The figure below gives a visual insight on how Japanese companies have done this at the end of the last two decades also:
Another good article on the subject here from the International Herald Tribune. An excerpt:
"But aggressive expansion also presents challenges, especially cultural ones. Traditionally, Japanese firms emphasize seniority and stability over individual incentive and profits."
Aren't individual incentives and profits couple of the key ingredients to breakthrough innovation?